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Kenyan government's enthusiastic welcome for Sidai Africa

21 April 2012

Farm Africa’s newly established social enterprise, Sidai Africa, has been given a ringing endorsement by the Kenyan government’s Director of Livestock Production, Mr Julius Kiptarus.

During his speech at an official launch ceremony in Nairobi, Mr Kiptarus emphasised that Sidai would provide an important service for rural Kenyans, saying that Sidai Africa was:

“embarking on a journey that will make livestock farming a rewarding venture for thousands of farmers across Kenya. The company is rolling out an ambitious network of livestock services across Kenya. Through these centres, livestock farmers will have access to quality products, professional veterinary services and linkages that impact on their returns and growth.”

But it is not just the scale of Sidai’s ambition that makes their plans so bold. Sidai is unique in its plans to locate many of these centres where they are most needed: remote rural areas where they will be serving pastoralist communities. Pastoralists form the majority of Kenya’s livestock keepers. But, until now, these communities and their herds have been largely neglected by commercial suppliers of livestock services who instead have concentrated on the traditionally profitable commercial dairy and poultry sectors based in and around Nairobi, the Rift Valley and the Tanzania border area.

By bringing quality livestock products and services to the majority of Kenya’s livestock keepers for the first time, Sidai is playing a hugely important role in unleashing the previously untapped potential of Kenya’s livestock. And by enabling pastoralists to get the most out of their livestock, Sidai is directly improving the food security and livelihoods of vulnerable pastoralist communities living in remote and drought-prone areas.

Speaking at the launch, Sidai’s Chairman, Dr Christie Peacock, spoke of Sidai’s frustration that “pastoralists are all too often treated as victims of disasters and recipients of aid handouts, rather than capable livestock owners.”

She also set out Sidai’s vision that “livestock keepers wherever they live deserve the services of professionals, not quacks” and that they should “have a right to be supported to prevent disease rather than only treat it when it appears and is all too often too late.”

The network of livestock service centres are franchises which Sidai is setting up right across Kenya. Sixteen have already been established and Sidai has ambitious plans to establish 150 in total over the next three years.

Click here for Sidai Africa’s website.